Monday, September 09, 2002

Laid Off: Day One

Well, the job hunt begins. I had been contemplating looking for a new job for a while, and now I finally have the stimulus needed to get me started.

Today at work was like any other. It was the first day back from a week long vacation I had took. We had not done much during the vacation, except relax which is really the whole point of vacations, so I was ready to be back and I didn't mind being back at work too much.

Around 11:00am, the Engineering Manager (my old boss who had been promoted and was in charge of my current boss) came by my cube and asked if he could see me for a moment. I could tell he was not pleased with the information he was going to deliver, but I was not yet aware exactly what was going to happen. When I arrived at a room full of people, I wondered who had been let go this time (we had been gathered into this room before to hear the bad news about who had been let go and why.) However, I noticed that several people in the room seemed distraught and that the Engineering Manager asked if he needed to stay (he looked really uncomfortable and near tears.) When I noticed that the Director of Human Resources was there, and was also fighting back tears, it wasn't hard to figure out what was going on.

What I found disturbing is who I saw in that room with me. The people in the room with me were hardware and software engineers, with a QA guy and a technical writer. It is never a good sign when a company has to let go of the people directly responsible for the products that produce the income for the company. Also, the new project that I was working on is going to suffer greatly not only because I'm gone, but also because there were at least three others in the room with me who were also working on it. As I am no longer working there, I try not to care, but that project (remote diagnostics of vehicles either over a regular network or, even more exciting, a wireless network) was so cool and it can really turn the company around if it is successful that it is disturbing that the remaining members of the team are now going to struggle to complete it.

A total of 34 people were laid off, from both the Michigan and Iowa offices. The reasoning was because of a mandate from the investors. If only they realized what an effect it was going to potentially have on their returns, they might have reconsidered. At any rate, I cannot fault my ex-employer, as the choice of eliminating a portion of the company is much preferred to the elimination of the entire staff.

Anyways, after they gave us the document they wanted us to sign to accept our severance package, we were given boxes and sent back to our cubes to pack. Everyone else must have been in one of the meetings I described earlier, hearing about the bad news; no one was around while we were packing up our stuff.

Everyone we interacted with seemed to have a grimness about them. I wonder if it is perhaps worse for the people remaining? My end at Nexiq is really a new beginning elsewhere and this will all be forgotten. However, the people who remain behind take a huge hit to morale; each person wonders if he or she is the next to go. And, even if everyone else stays, the memory of those who have been laid off will continue to haunt the company.

First thing out in the car, I called the recruiter who found me the position at Nexiq to let him know I was currently back in the market. Then, I told K. Next, I went over to my mom's place (since she lives near work) and shared the news with her. I read the document provided, signed it and then took it back (I had also forgotten to take my lunch out of the fridge at work; funny thing is this was the first time in months that I had actually packed a lunch. Heh.) Mom and I ate at Chilli's. It was yummy.

Then, back in the car and a drive back home. I made a couple more phone calls to make friends and family aware of my new status. I stopped by Wolverine Towers to pick up the paperwork necessary to apply for jobs at U of M. I'll fill those out tomorrow morning and take them in before I meet with a friend for lunch.

After getting the paperwork, I stopped by to see Kendra on the way home. She took it very well and has been encouraging.

Back at home, I received a couple of emails and got a phone call from my ex-boss. He is a really cool guy; we would discuss GTA3 on a daily basis. I also picked up a new book from Borders, "The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Perfect Resume, Second Edition." I have been looking through it a bit and I have realized that my current resume is really lacking. I intend to go through it tomorrow and update my resume. Then, when I receive the letter of referral from my ex-employer, I will send that along with the resume to my friends and as many companies as I can find.

I have had a pretty upbeat attitude about this the whole time. My daily commute to Sterling Heights (over 60 miles each way) was wearing me down. This additional time at home will be nice, even if I have to spend all my time looking for a new job. And, hopefully, that new job will be much closer and perhaps even in town.

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